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Understanding postwar tensions

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1 Understanding postwar tensions
The Roaring Twenties Understanding postwar tensions

2 What comes to mind when you think of the 1920s?

3 Our Stereotypical perceptions of the “Roaring 20s”…

4 Often mask the realities of postwar tensions
The “roar’ of the 20s often overshadows: Economic recession as the American economy contracts Labor unrest The rise of anti-communist sentiments Anti-immigrant legislation Racial violence


6 WWI Victory Parade Soldiers returning put many out of work
NYC 1919-Welcoming home the troops As America returns home from war: Soldiers returning put many out of work Factories shut down Avg. annual income fell from $835 to $672 Who do you think was hurt the most by the economic downturn?

7 Social impacts of economic downturn
Women and Immigrants: African Americans: Women who were encouraged to take new jobs in wartime industries were pushed out to make room for returning males. Immigrants from Eastern Europe, Russia, Mexico, and East Asia were displaced or accepted low paying menial jobs just to stay employed. Blacks who left the oppressive South during the Great Migration had to turn menial jobs as well. Detroit’s black population grew 8x during the war. Chicago’s more than doubled. Competition for work created tension between whites, blacks, and immigrant groups.


9 Political Corruption Harkening back to the “spoils” system, Harding filled many government positions with loyal friends. Campaign Manager Harry Daugherty became the Attorney General, and turned a blind eye when friends broke the law and even accepted bribes from suspects accused of crimes. Sen. Albert Fall became Secretary of the Interior and played a significant role in the Teapot Dome Scandal Warren G. Harding is often remembered as one of the worst Presidents in US history as a result.

10 Teapot Dome Scandal Sec. Fall persuaded Harding to turn the nations oil reserves, including those in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, over to the Department of the Interior (and away from the Dept. of Navy) Fall then turned around and gave no-bid leases of the mineral rights to two companies in exchange for $360,000 in bribes! “If Albert Fall isn’t an honest man, I’m not fit to be president of the US.” Harding died of a heart attack on 08/02/1923…coincidence?


12 Labor Unrest The dissatisfaction of underprivileged workers led to one of the key social tensions of the era: Labor unrest During 1919 alone, 4 million workers held 3,600 strikes protesting wage cuts and long hours with no overtime pay. During the War, the government had managed labor disputes to keep production rolling.

13 Strike! Seattle general strike: 60,000 shipyard and metal-trades workers denied a 14% wage increase. The city was paralyzed, and middle class residents began fearing the potential violence. The mayor called in the Marines to force an end to the strike

14 Boston Police Strike! Police officers walked off the job after city officials cut their pay and refused to negotiate. The city lapsed into anarchy and the police lost any public support they had. Residents set up “citizen patrols” to combat increasing crime. “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” Gov. Coolidge Coolidge fired striking police and hired new ones, he would become a VP candidate the next year. Discouraged by unsuccessful strikes and violence, union membership declined from 5 mil. to 3.4 mil.


16 American Radicalism 1917 Russian Revolution brought the Communist Party into power. During the interwar years communism became a powerful political ideology around the world (not just Russia) In the US there was a fear that communists would work with socialists, anarchists, and pacifists to overthrow the government. Most American radicals were white upper middle class intellectuals, but anti-radical sentiment was often directed at poor immigrants from E. Europe

17 Radical Bombings Between 1919 and 1920, anarchists delivered more than 30 bombs to political officials and prominent citizens. John D. Rockefeller was a target, but the bomb failed One bomb tore away part of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer’s house in Washington, DC. The bombings, along with increased fear of American radicals lead to the Red Scare.


19 The Red Scare Anti-communist hysteria lead to a government crackdown on radicals and immigrants. Atty. Gen. Palmer mobilized thousands of federal, state, and local officials to arrest or deport “Reds” the “Palmer Raids” resulted in the arrest of close to 10,000 perceived radicals and held them without formal charges. Palmer’s gang also conducted searches without warrants.


21 Investigating Sacco and Vanzetti
The governor of Massachusetts has summoned you to testify in a clemency hearing for two convicted death row murderers. Governors convene these hearings when they are considering granting clemency, a pardon or lessening of a penalty. You will learn more about the facts of the case and the clemency hearing throughout the chapter. 1. Read about the upcoming clemency hearing in Section 26.1 and write three important facts about the Sacco and Vanzetti case in your notebook. 2. Examine the following additional facts. 3. Determine which two facts should most influence the clemency hearing. Write a paragraph explaining your choices. Additional Facts: • At the time of the murder, Sacco was 29, and Vanzetti was 32. • Sacco and Vanzetti were both carrying guns at the time of their arrest. • At the time of his arrest, Vanzetti had a flyer in his pocket advertising an anarchist meeting that evening. • Both men had been involved in labor strikes. • The judge in the case, Judge Webster Thayer, was 64 years old and had recently disagreed with a jury for acquitting an anarchist.




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